Keeping hens 'cooped up' due to fox- need exhaust fan advice!


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 6, 2008
Western PA
I have a small free range chicken flock and a bold red fox with a taste for chicken that's been on a killing spree. The girls have been free ranged for 3 years and this fox has been the only problem, but it's killed 15 total. It hunts in the daytime and very close to the house & dogs.

SO I am currently keeping them locked up in the coop until the fox can be trapped or shot, which may take some time. It is already in the 90's here and although I have screened vents cut in the door, it's not enough. I have a secure coop but no run. Yesterday the thermometer in there said it was just over 95 degrees and that was with a box fan running.

I've put in 2 bathroom exhaust fans and numerous box fans in the past 3 years, but the dust is just too much for them and they only last a few weeks. I want to buy an agricultural or industrial exhaust fan with louvers, screen over the blades and a sealed motor so the dust isn't an issue but all the ones I've seen are huge! I also don't want to spend a weeks pay to get it. Does anyone use a fan like this that they'd recommend?

My coop is big (approx 12'L x 8'W x8'H) This pic shows about 1/3rd of it, and the hens spend their nights and nap times up in the rafters 2' or so out of the top of the frame.

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Do you have venting up high? Maybe consider adding some vents in the roof or up towards the roof in the walls. Also you could try facing a fan inward so that air is getting forced through the building more and the chickens might like the breeze. Best of luck on getting the fox, we had an issue with one last year, she had a den with pups right below our house in a hay field. Once the hay was cut she was busted and taken care of. This year we've had coyotes come at night and get our turkeys that were nesting. It's hard to keep them away since they just pass by our place on the way to the river. But atleast our coonhounds keep them away from the barnyard.
I have a "dutch door" style door, that the top 1/4 opens and it has some netting up there to keep the girls in, but fox can jump high enough to get in so I've been keeping it closed. I have considered adding additional vents up near the roof line on the peak sides, but it's wood sided and it just seemed like a nightmare to try to do, so I haven't done it. It's already wired for 110 up on one side so a louvered fan seems like it might be easier in the long run, plus then I can flip it on in the winter to clear out the ammonia & humidity. I'd LOVE to have one with a timer but I think there's some serious $$ involved in that.

I do have a box fan blowing in near the vents, but they don't last more than a couple weeks at best due to the dust.
Since your fox is that gutsy to go right up to the coop maybe you could try some leg hold traps? What kind of netting do you have over the door vents? If you put up hardware cloth and screw it down there is really no way I could see a fox getting through it just by jumping up to it. That stuff is tough. It does sound like that fan is your best bet however. Sometimes you just have to spend the money sadly.
I have good metal wire mesh over the door vents, but at the top, at the opening of the 1/4 door I just have deer fencing strung across to keep the chickens in. The bottom isn't attached to anything (cause then I couldn't open the door) so a fox could jump up to the top of the door and slip in between the door and the deer fence.

I definitely need an exhaust fan (not to mention that in the winter, removing the ammonia and dust and humidity is the key to happy, healthy chickens). The question is WHAT exhaust fan. I'm hoping to hear from someone who has a set up that didn't cost them a fortune (I've seen great fans by Dayton with cycle timers that are awesome- and $300-$500!!) and that has held up in a coop.
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